The evaluation of waste, surface and ground water quality using the Allium test procedure

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Journal: Mutat Res 1996/07/05
Published: 1996
Authors: Smaka-Kincl, V.;Stegnar, P.;Lovka, M.;Toman, M. J.
Address: Public Services Administration, Department of Environmental Protection, Maribor, Slovenia.

The bulbs of Allium cepa were grown in test liquids of various pollution levels as follows: undiluted industrial and municipal waste water; biological treatment plant output water; water from the Drava river upstream and downstream of the city of Maribor; and non-chlorinated drinking water as a negative control test. The paper presents the response of the Allium cepa genetic material to the presence of potential cytotoxic and genotoxic substances in test liquids and the suitability of the Allium cepa testing procedure as a method for short-term determination of water pollution level. The suitability of the Allium test procedure as a system for environmental monitoring is presented. The influence of water pollution on macroscopic and cytologic parameters of the common onion by application of the biological testing method was examined. The macroscopic parameter was inhibition of root growth. The cytological parameters were: aberrant cells in metaphase and anaphase, index of micronuclei appearance and inhibition of cell division. The possibility of categorization the different polluted test liquids into quality classes is presented according to the influence of the test liquids on macroscopic and cytologic parameters. Test liquids are divided into 8 quality classes: the first class is the least polluted surface waters, the second and the third classes are more polluted surface water, the fourth and the fifth classes are biological treatment plant output waters, the sixth till the eighth quality classes are untreated waste waters. The most polluted test liquids (untreated industrial and municipal waste waters) caused sublethal and even lethal effects. The most polluted tested liquids cause the inhibition of root growth over 50% (even up to 74%), decrease of mitotic index over 36% (even up to 66%), increase of presence of interphase cells with micronuclei over 3% and increase of presence of aberrant cells for more than 10 times in comparison to control test.

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